Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nominating council could limit governor's PSC picks

The Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council in August will interview six applicants for two spots on the Public Service Commission even though all of them have already been nominated to fill two other seats. The council's choices could limit the governor's selection to lead the troubled agency, but the council chairman says that was not the intent.

In a controversial move on Wednesday, the council effectively voted to oust Commission Chairman Nancy Argenziano and Commissioner Nathan A. Skop by not choosing them among the 18 to be interviewed for their seats. (See "Argenziano and Skop ousted from PSC," June 30.) Their terms end on Jan 1, 2011.

On June 15, the PSC Nominating Council recommended eight names for two vacant seats created after the Senate in April refused to confirm the nominations of David E. Klement and Ben A. "Steve" Stevens III.

Gov. Charlie Crist has until July 15 to choose two appointees for the vacant Klement and Stevens seats. Six of the eight are also will be interviewed again for the Skop and Argenziano seats.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton and council chairman, at a June meeting encouraged the applicants who were being interviewed to reapply for the Argenziano and Skop seats. On Thursday, he said there was no intent to limit the governor's choices for the PSC. Bennett said he would ask the council to submit more than eight names if the six were recommended to the governor again.

"I want to make sure the governor has enough choices to get the right people for the state of Florida," Bennett said.

The six who are being interviewed again are former PSC Executive Director Mary Bane, legislative analyst Kevin Wiehle, Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham, former Missouri PSC member Connie Murray, Tallahassee attorney Charles Ransom, and Sen. Lee Constantine, D-Altamonte Springs.

Former Sen. Curt Kiser, now the PSC's general counsel, and Rep. Ronald Brise, D-North Miami Beach, were recommended in June but did not reapply for the Argenziano and Skop seats. Click here for a list of the 18 who were selected to be interviewed in August.

(Story provided by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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